A Society Fit for Human Beings

By E. M. Adams

Subjects: Social Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Constructive Postmodern Thought
Paperback : 9780791435243, 269 pages, October 1997
Hardcover : 9780791435236, 269 pages, October 1997

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Table of contents

Introduction to SUNY Series in Contructive Postmodern Thought


1. Culture and the Human Enterprise

2. Human Beings and Society
A Humantistic View

3. Character
The Framework for a Successful Life

4. The Primacy of Family and Community

5. Education for Human Growth

6. Humanizing the Economic Enterprise

7. Government and the Civic Enterprise

8. The Military
The Peculiar Institution

9. Religion and the Arts

10. Toward a Humanistic Revolution

Appendix A
A Summary Case for Realistic Humanism

Appendix B
A Suggested "Mission and Issues Charter" for a University Center for Philosophy and Cultural Criticism



Note on Supporting Center

Argues for a humanistic cultural reformation to counter our materialistic values and science-dominated intellectual life and shows how this would affect our lives and transform our society.


A Society Fit for Human Beings contends that there is a profound incoherence in the foundations of modern Western civilization and that we are on a self-destructive course. With the quest for wealth and power our dominant concern, we find ourselves with a flourishing economy and a supreme military force based on science and technology, but with our moral, civic, and religious culture undermined by our way of comprehending the world. Our human identity is problematic, the wells of meaning that nourish the human spirit are polluted or drying up, and the social order is in disarray.

This situation, E. M. Adams argues, requires nothing less than a historic cultural revolution based on a shift in priorities from wealth and power to humanistic values--those grounded in selfhood and lived experience that are essential for human growth, meaningful lives, and a healthy society. Such a shift in our governing values would require a restructuring of our intellectual vision of humankind and the world in terms of humanistic categories--those grounded in lived experience, the categories of the humanities.

This book shows the import of such a humanistic cultural revolution for our human identity, morality, the social order, and our major institutions, including the family and community, education, the economy, the government, the military, and religion. It outlines how we can work toward such a cultural revolution and develop a constructive postmodern civilization with a society fit for human beings.

E. M. Adams is Kenan Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has written many books, including Ethical Naturalism and the Modern World-View; Philosophy and the Modern Mind; The Metaphysics of Self and World: Toward a Humanistic Philosophy; and Religion and Cultural Freedom.


"This is a work of much wisdom. One can rarely read a book and then say that, if we would only follow this author's advice, the world might be saved. I had that experience in reading Adams's book. I know of no book of this scope that contains as much wisdom. " -- David Ray Griffin, School of Theology at Claremont

"I find this work significant. Adams has an important topic and treats it well. He brings philosophical insight to bear directly on political, economic, and cultural issues and problems. The topic is extremely timely and very crucial in contemporary social philosophy. "--Jerry H. Gill, author of Learning to Learn: Toward a Philosophy of Education

"An important book that should be read and discussed. " -- Marcus Ford, Northern Arizona University